All in it together?

We’re all in it together – up to our necks, it seems!

Working age benefits are to be capped at a 1% rise – equating to a 2% drop after inflation has its way with prices. Not a good thing for those of us on benefits, but I could stomach it if, once again, the government hadn’t made a hash of things. Apparently, nobody noticed that many of the benefits affected are in-work benefits – rather than making work pay, they’ve made plenty of workers worse off. Even worse, the whole idea is based upon the usual fallacy of government that, where there is inequity, the solution is to make everyone worse off. In recent years, benefits have risen at a rate slightly higher than inflation (which sounds good, but isn’t much for people like me who don’t have a whole raft of benefits coming in), whilst most workers’ wages have risen at a rate below that of inflation or not at all. Surely the sensible thing, in order to do right by workers and ensure that the economy doesn’t stagnate, would be to ensure that workers were receiving a comparable or better rise than benefits claimants? That would have been the good thing about the rise in the personal tax allowance, except that, for many, it is offset by a drop in their in-work benefits.

It wouldn’t be so bad, of course, if we really were all in the mess together – except that politicians continue to receive excellent wages whilst running the country into the ground and fiddle their expenses, with Leveson acting as their cheerleader against the press for daring to reveal their crimes, turning a legitimate concern about press intrusion into a witchhunt against those blowing the whistle on government corruption.

Sadly, there is nobody credible to stand up for the hard-pressed workers and benefit claimants of Britain. That job should fall to the opposition, but, besides lacking any moral standing to press point due to the economic mess being one of their own creation – a pit that the Coalition might be continuing to dig but which Labour started the shoveling of, the two idiot Eds presented a frankly pathetic pair of gurning faces to Osborne when they should have been presenting a stern and measured rebuttal of his mishandling. I guess it’s hard to be statesmanlike when you have no ideas.

Bringing it to a personal level, the news of the benefits rise cap comes as my signing arrangements change to see me signing not at the Jobcentre office but at the work scheme office that I attend. Not a big deal in itself, except that the letter informing me of this states that a Jobcentre employee will be on hand to collect our signatures but will be unable to offer any information, advice or feedback of any sort – their job is solely to collect the signature and receive our job log, in order to pass it on for someone else to scrutinise. Surely that simple task could have been completed by the office receptionist, just as it was being done by the Jobcentre receptionist? Instead, they’re paying someone to sit around and do next to nothing for no good reason that I can see! A great job if you can get it I guess, but an insult to those of us who are attempting to find work. If they have the money to pay someone to do a non-job, they have the money to invest in jobsearch. Better yet, the government should invest some money in job creation so that there are actually some jobs for us to take, rather than the constant refrain about the workshy that rings hollow to anyone in touch with the reality of the economic situation facing Britain today!

All in it together? I should think not!

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